Do San Diego Renters Have The Right To Withhold Rent? Yes or No?

San Diego Renters

 

By Goldenwest Property Management

SAN DIEGO, CA. – As a longtime property management company in San Diego, one of the most common questions that we’ve had from landlords over the years is do tenants have the right to withhold rent?

The answer to this question is “yes and no” – as most things, it depends on the situation.

Tenants are entitled to a property that meets their basic health, structural and safety standards. If the Landlord fails to maintain “habitable” living conditions, the Tenant has the right to withhold rent, among other legal remedies. But the issue in question must be one of habitability or the Tenant can’t withhold rent.

Examples of non-habitability are: a broken heater, mold, toilets not working, or a leaking roof.

In these cases, the tenant has the right do the following:

  • Withhold rent until repairs are made.
  • Pay for any or all repairs themselves then deduct the cost of those repairs from their rent. This is also called repair and deduct.
  • Contact local building health inspectors or state officials to inform them about the poor condition of their rental property.

The Tenant may issue the Landlord a notice to cure, in which the Landlord has a set period of days to remedy the issue or the Tenant has the right to break the lease without penalty.

Tenants Have Rights to a Livable Premises

Review California statutes (Civil Code § 1941.1 and § 1941.3) which states landlords are legally required to offer their tenants what can be considered a habitable or livable premises. Every rental property in California must have the following:

  • Effective weather protection and waterproofing for the roof, exterior walls, Windows, doors and any entry point into the rental property.
  • Functioning heating, plumbing and electrical facilities.
  • A sanitary building that’s also clean and free from garbage, rubbish, rodents, vermin and filth (this is intentionally vague, so make sure you have photos of your property at move-in)
  • Deadbolt locks on the doors and lockable windows.
  • No hazards from lead paint.
  • No dangers to human life, mental health or offensive/of noxious behavior on the premises.

Tenants Do Have Responsibilities Too In California

Although tenants have the right to withhold rent from a landlord who fails to properly fix issues on their rental property, tenants in are required to hold up their fair share of maintenance and responsibilities which may include:

  • Keeping the rental property clean and sanitary at all times.
  • Disposing of garbage or rubbish from the premises.
  • Properly using gas, electrical and plumbing on premises.
  • Not destroying or willfully wrecking one or more parts of the rental property.

Get California Property Management

The law is not exact, it’s often ambiguous with cases law findings across the board. If you don’t have experience dealing with these types of situations, then maybe you should think of hiring someone who does.

Save time and money on property management by contacting the team of property management professionals at Goldenwest today by clicking here to contact us online, or calling us at (858) 792-3442.

Site visits – how often can a Landlord come over?

Site visits

By Goldenwest Management

One of the hottest issues between landlords and tenants is how often the landlord is allowed to visit the rental property.

In California a landlord has just five (5) legitimate reasons for entering a legally occupied rental property including the following:

  1. Tenant has moved out or abandoned the rental property.
  2. To make repairs, alterations to the condo or property.
  3. Show rental property to other prospective tenants.
  4. Court approved entry into property.

Landlords must not enter the property the same day except in cases of emergency at the property or if their rental has been abandoned.

All landlords must give their tenants 24 hours written notice before entering a property to make repairs, alterations or to show the property to prospective tenants and the notice must either be given to the tenant, posted near the front door of the rental or mailed to the tenant at least 6 days in advance.

Landlords Can’t Show Up Unannounced

Although a landlord may think that because they own the rental property they can show up regularly to “inspect it” the reality is that showing up announced or with notice too frequently violates the tenants right to “quiet enjoyment.” Tenants can sue for damages or even petition to break the lease due to such behavior.

Before leaving the property due to the landlord’s unannounced visits the tenant should use the following strategy:

Step 1 – Send the landlord a friendly letter or email to voice your concerns about their unannounced visits.

Step 2 – If the visits persist the tenant should mail the landlord a certified demand letter, usually in the form of a notice to cure, reminding the landlord of the current landlord/tenant and the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment.

Step 3 – Take the landlord to small claims court seeking to break the lease.

Step 4 – Move out of the rental property only after awarded that privelage by the court.

Contact Us

To learn more about how often a landlord is allowed to visit their rental property, or to view properties for rent, contact Goldenwest Management today by calling us at (866) 545-5303 or click here to connect with us online.

What Do You Do If The Acoustic Ceiling In Your Condo Has Mold Growth?

roofs-348107_640

By Goldenwest Management

One of the worst things you can hear as a landlord if you own a condo is that mold has been found in the acoustic ceiling because mold can be very expensive and time consuming to remove.

If you find yourself in the position of dealing with mold in the acoustic ceiling of your condo here are simple tips you can use to resolve this problem.

#1 – Hire a Certified Mold Specialist

To be absolutely sure about the mold growth in the acoustic ceiling of your condo you should hire a certified mold specialist to conduct a third party mold test because this will give you a clear indication if you should have the mold removed or not.

#2 – Want To Have The Mold Removed? Hire a Licensed Abatement Company

Once you receive the report from the mold specialist the next step you should consider is if you should have the mold removed from your ceiling or not. If you do decide to have the mold removed from your acoustic ceiling the next step you should take is to hire a professional abatement company who is licensed and will come in to safely remove the mold rather than just scrape it away.

#3 – Do This After the Mold Has Been Removed

After you’ve had the mold removed from your condo you must receive a certificate of completion from the abatement company then present it to all future tenants at lease signing just so they are aware that mold has been previously found in the unit.

What to Do If Your Ceilings Contain Asbestos

Let’s say that your condo was built prior to 1978 and during the mold removal the inspector found that your ceilings contain asbestos.

In this case you have two choices:

#1 – Have the asbestos removed and pay a very costly bill for this process.

#2 – Disclose to all future tenants that your acoustic ceilings have asbestos.

Most landlords will choose option #2 because, as long as you disclose to tenants up front that the acoustic ceiling in your rental property may contain asbestos you don’t have to cave into their future demands if they come back to you claiming complications resulting from the asbestos in your rental.

Learn More

To more about what you should do if mold or asbestos has been found in your rental property, or to speak with us about professional property management, contact Goldenwest Management today by clicking here to connect with us online or by calling (866) 545-5303.

Top Landlord / Tenant Questions

 

Top Landlord / Tenant Questions

By Goldenwest Management

Landlord / tenant issues are some of the most common problems for any property owner, in this post we will cover the top questions regarding landlord / tenant issues so you can be more knowledgeable when renting your property.

Tenant – How Long Must I Wait Until My Security Deposit Is Returned To Me?

In California Civil Code Section 1950.5 requires that within three weeks (21 days) after a tenant has vacated the unit, the owner must either: 1) return the security deposit to the tenant, 2) furnish a copy of an itemized statement indicating the amount of any part of the security deposit used (e.g. for unpaid rent, repairs, etc.), or 3) a combination of #1 and #2.

Landlord – How Often Can I Increase The Rent?

If you have a tenant under lease for more than 30 days (e.g. 1-year lease), you rent cannot increase their rent during the term of the lease, unless the lease allows rent increases. If you have a periodic rental agreement (month-to-month), your landlord can increase your rent, but must give you proper advance notice in writing. (Civil Code Section 827 (b))

Tenant – How Much Advance Notice Should A Landlord Give A Tenant If They Want Them To Move?

Landlords are required to provide a 60-day advance notice to a resident if the landlord elects to terminate a tenancy. If the tenant has resided in the unit less than 1 year, the landlord is only required to give a 30-day notice. (Civil Code Section 1946.1)

Landlord – When Can I Enter My Occupied Rental Unit?

In California you have five reasons for entering a rental unit including:

(1)   In an emergency (“fire, flood or blood” as the saying goes).

(2)   When the tenant has moved out or has abandoned the rental unit. Though its good to place a notice of abandonment on the property first.

(3)   To make necessary or agreed-upon repairs, decorations, alterations, or other improvements.

(4)   To show the rental unit to prospective tenants, buyers, or lenders, appraisers or to provide entry to contractors or workers who are to perform work on the unit.

(5)   If a court order permits the landlord to enter.

As of January 1, 2003, California Civil Code 1954 states that except in the first two situations above (emergencies and abandonment), the landlord must give the tenant twenty-four (24) hours written notice before entering the unit.

Learn More

To learn more about common landlord / tenant issues, or to view our current rentals, contact Goldenwest Management today by calling us at (800) 545-5303 or click here to connect with us online.

Do HOA’s have the right to fine me if I am a tenant?

roofs-348107_640

By Goldenwest Management

Do Home Owners Associations (“HOA”) have the right to fine me if I’m a tenant? This is a question that most renters have when they rent a condo, single family home that’s also part of an HOA.

Well, the answer to this question is both yes and no.

Yes, an HOA does have the right to enforce their rules; examples such as not allowing a tenant to park in a fire lane, not hang clothes from the balcony, and making sure that front yards are maintained. But the HOA’s don’t actually fine the Tenant directly… they send all violations and enforce all penalties against the Landlord (or property owner). It’s job of the Landlord to make sure their tenant follows the HOA rules and collect reimbursement for fines levied against them from the Tenant.

The Landlord Is the Middle Man

The owner or their property management company is technically the middle man and is responsible for making sure their tenant follows the HOA rules.

One of the best ways for landlords or property owners to insure that their tenants in their rental follow the rules is for them to make sure that the HOA rules, also known as CC&R’s are included in the rental agreement. The CC&Rs usually have a rules and regulations section and define the do’s and don’t’s as well as list the potential consequences including fines if those rules are broken.

HOA and the Authorities

After the tenant makes it very clear that they are not following rules of the HOA, or civil rules, the HOA has the authority to get the proper authorities involved including the FBI, drug enforcement, police or fire department to help defuse the situation before an even bigger problem occurs.

But on a more common level, they simply send the Landlord violation notices and leave it to the Landlord to ensure the violations are cured.

What Landlords Should Do Before Signing New Tenants?

Before turning over possession of a property, the landlord should physically give a copy of the governing documents or rules to the Tenants. An electronic copy is acceptable as long as the Tenant acknowledges receipt. When possible, its even better to include a copy to the Tenant when sending over the lease agreement to review and sign.

Contact Goldenwest Management

To learn more about the tenants relationship with an HOA, or to view properties for rent, contact Goldenwest Management today by calling us at (866) 545-5303 or click here to connect with us online.

San Diego Rental – What Do You Do About A Neighbors Barking Dog?

San Diego Rental

By Goldenwest Management

So you just moved into a new San Diego Rental property and are getting settled but you’re noticing that your neighbor’s dog barks a lot. What do you do?

A barking dog can often be a contentious issue because the owner may not realize that the dog is an annoyance and the only way to deal with it is to follow a systematic approach.

In this article we will share with you the best way to deal with a neighbors barking dog so you do everything within the law.

Step #1 – Talk with Your Neighbor about the Dog

Sometimes if you’re home in your San Diego Rental during the day while your neighbor is away at work they may not be aware that their dog is barking, this is why it’s a good idea to have a casual conversation with them about their dog and ask them for their suggestions on how to handle the dogs barking.

Your neighbor may give you a specific command which will help the dog to stop barking (you never know!), but having a conversation with your neighbor is the best way to handle this issue peacefully. It also shows the neighbor that you are the type of person considerate to address the issue directly instead of letting fester on and on.

Before taking further steps, you should also consider speaking with one or more neighbors on the block to find out if they are having similar problems with the barking dog because the dog’s owner may be inclined to do something if more than one neighbor complains about the problem.

Step #2 – Talk to the HOA

Many times, HOA’s have rules and regulations that govern the conduct of occupants AND pets. Submitting an anonymous complaint, often accompanied by a picture of the animal and the property address where it resides will get a third party with actual leverage. Remember HOA can fine occupants for pet complaints.

If there isn’t an HOA to help, then you have to turn to the local/city ordinances.

Step #3 – Check the Law

Another great thing to do regarding a barking dog is to check the local laws concerning noise. Often times, the police will NOT come out to the property and warn the owner, but if you film the issue, and submit it to a local code enforcement agency, they will often mail a notice.

Step #4 – File a small claims court action

You guessed it…go to small claims court. If you end up here, that is really unfortunate. It is a waste of time, energy and money for all involved. But you do have the right to quiet enjoyment of your home, whether you rent or own, and that means animal owners need to take measures to ensure their neighbors have that.

If you go to court, you absolutely must possess (3) things: 1. Evidence including multiple recordings of the barking. 2. You need to show that you made an attempt to resolve the issue. This can be done by sending a certified letter to the property in question asking them to please remedy the issue. (3). Often times a final demand notice seeking financial damages should be sent to the property in question. Whatever financial compensation you are seeking will be the same amount you list in a small claims filing.

Obviously this is the last measure you want to take, but often times is required.

Learn More

To learn more about how you should deal with a barking dog at your San Diego Rental, or to view San Diego Rental Properties, contact Goldenwest Management today by calling us at (858) 792-3442 or click here to connect with us online.